In the case before us the interest was paid for delayed payment of service tax & TDS. The interest for the delay in making the payment of service tax & TDS is compensatory in nature. As such the interest on delayed payment is not in the nature of penalty in the instant case on hand.
The issue of delay in the payment of service tax is directly covered by the judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Lachmandas Mathura Vs. CIT reported in 254 ITR 799 in favour of assessee. The relevant extract of the judgment is reproduced below :
“The High Court has proceeded on the basis that the interest on arrears of sales tax is penal in nature and has rejected the contention of the assessee that it is compensatory in nature. In taking the said view the High Court has placed reliance on its Full Bench’s decision in Saraya Sugar Mills (P.) Ltd. v. CIT  116 ITR 387 (All.) The learned counsel appearing for the appellant-assessee states that the said judgment of the Full Bench has been reversed by the larger Bench of the High Court in Triveni Engg. Works Ltd. v. CIT  144 ITR 732 (All.) (FB), wherein it has been held that interest on arrears of tax is compensatory in nature and not penal. This question has also been considered by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 830 of 1979 titled Saraya Sugar Mills (P.) Ltd. v. CIT decided on 29-2-1996. In that view of the matter, the appeal is allowed and question Nos. 1 and 2 are answered in favour of the assessee and against the revenue.”
In view of the above judgment, there remains no doubt that the interest expense on the delayed payment of service tax is allowable deduction.
The above principles can be applied to the interest expenses levied on account of delayed payment of TDS as it relates to the expenses claimed by the assessee which are subject to the TDS provisions. The assessee claims the specified expenses of certain amount in its profit & loss account and thereafter the assessee from the payment to the party deducts certain percentage as specified under the Act as TDS and pays to the Government Exchequer. The amount of TDS represents the amount of income tax of the party on whose behalf the payment was deducted & paid to the Government Exchequer. Thus the TDS amount does not represent the tax of the assessee but it is the tax of the party which has been paid by the assessee. Thus any delay in the payment of TDS by the assessee cannot be linked to the income tax of the assessee and consequently the principles laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Bharat Commerce Industries Ltd. Vs. CIT (1998) reported in 230 ITR 733 cannot be applied to the case on hand.
Thus, in our considered view, the principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Commerce Industries Ltd. (supra) is not applicable in the instant facts of the case. Thus, we hold that the Assessing Officer in the instant case has wrongly applied the principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Commerce Industries Ltd.(supra). We also find that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lachmandas Mathura (Supra) has allowed the deduction on account of interest on late deposit of sales tax u/s 37(1) of the Act. In view of the above, we conclude that the interest expenses claimed by the assessee on account of delayed deposit of service tax as well as TDS liability are allowable expenses u/s 37(1) of the Act. In this view of the matter, we find no reason to interfere in the order of Ld. CIT(A) and we uphold the same. Hence, this ground of Revenue is dismissed.
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